Mapping India Through G.I. Tags

India is renowned for its rich heritage and culture, encompassing several centuries of tradition, craftsmanship, and culinary excellence. This is evident everywhere we go -  from vibrant modern cities to ancient heritage sites. Even today, India is a treasure trove of the arts.

To preserve - and promote - India’s rich culture, Geographical Indication (GI) tags have been used to identify and safeguard many parts of India's historical heritage. A Geographical Indication is an indication or sign placed on goods that are associated with a certain region and have characteristics or a reputation distinctive to that region. In India, GI tags are granted to products that exhibit distinct characteristics, qualities, or reputation attributable to their geographical origin within the country. 

 Our GI Tags are regulated by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999 for registration as well as protection. However, GI Tags are governed and directed by the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). 

Using Geographical Indications may be regarded as a certification that the particular product is produced as per traditional methods, has certain specific qualities, or has a particular reputation because of its geographical origin.

Some Famous G.I. Tags

From the colorful Chanderi sarees of Madhya Pradesh to the magnificent Pashmina shawls of Kashmir, every product with the GI tag offers a peek into the vibrant customs of India. 

Among many other GI tagged products, textiles like Banarasi silk sarees (Varanasi), Kanchipuram sarees (Tamil Nadu) and the Kapdaganda Shawl (Odisha), to name a few, have been bestowed with a GI Tag, ensuring the preservation of this ancient craft.

In addition to textiles, Indian cuisine has also received several GI tags. You’ll know these - the Alphonso mangoes of Ratnagiri (Maharashtra), aromatic Basmati rice (Punjab and Haryana), fiery Guntur chillies (Andhra Pradesh), Malabar pepper (Kerala), and Darjeeling tea (West Bengal). Such GI tags have helped make Indian cuisine popular worldwide.

Not to forget the beautiful handicrafts workmanship of India - ranging from the Madhubani paintings of Bihar and Walnut Wood Carving of Kashmir, to Metal crafts of Moradabad and Blue Pottery of Rajasthan. They have contributed to the country’s economic prosperity, while also sharing its unique traditions with the world. 

An extremely interesting GI tag recently came out of Mayurbhanj, Odisha. It was granted to Similipal Kai Chutney. The secret ingredient of this delicacy? Red weaver ants. It is known for both its nutritional and medicinal value.

Gucci Mushrooms are an expensive food item grown wild and collected manually in Jammu and Kashmir. It has also received a GI tag.

Geographical Indication tags on a wide variety of products allow India to proudly display its rich cultural heritage. But one wonders, what other traditional crafts, foods, or cultural practices should be honored and safeguarded with GI tags? 

Think about it!